01 August 2023 | Raiatea Carenage
William Ennis | Windy and hot
Benoit, our fridge guy, arrived this morning at 0730. Our CoolBlue had been running continuously overnight and Benoit's testing equipment registered a holding plate temperature of -30C or -22°F: cold enough! He said that we might even want to lower the speed of the system down to "Low" rather than the 1/3 speed that was the recommended start speed. Holy smokes! He even wanted the name of the company and said that he'd not seen such a unit and that, although it kept him in work, the most common ones that he saw were an Italian unit that had thin copper tubing and poor components. I think that he wants to know more about the brand that we have so that he can recommend them to people. What a nice thing to hear.
From our first day of operating the fridge, it's apparent that it is a lot of machine for us. Conni has turned the thermostat to warmer! Most surprising to me is that the thing doesn't run all the time. We've had a fridge in the South Pacific since 2013, and a few years in Mexico before that and our poor fridge ran 24/7. This unit does not.
Again, I've got to mount the thermostat and provide support to the tubes in the box, but otherwise, we're done. We have a running refrigerator and we cooled it using shore power, without draining our batteries, a serious issue.
It's noon now and the fridge has been off since 0800! Four hours of cooling from the holding plate with no power use at all: I'm impressed. We've not owned or used a holding plate fridge, but obviously, the fluid in the holding plate freezes and the compressor stops: no power drain. When the sensor sends a signal to the thermostat, the unit switches on and cools the plate again. Pretty clever system. The sensor is actually inserted into a small copper tube soldered to the side of the holding plate, so the temp of the holding plate drives the system. The variable expansion valve can meter more or less stored liquid coolant, too, and that reduces the overall power use.
We're simply going from chore to chore, reducing the number of items that need doing before we are splashed. We're hoping on going into the water this next Tuesday or Wednesday at day's end. We like to sit in the launch slip so that we can fill water tanks and test the main engine, just before departing. If something doesn't work, we need to know before we leave the Carenage! Our friends, Britta and Michael will probably get splashed on Monday.
Last year, we replaced the pump mechanism on our two toilets (heads, they're called) since I don't like working on them. It's been years since I exchanged all of the gaskets on the forward head, and the one sealing the bowl to the housing below was leaking. i had to find the parts in the confusion of a boat in project mode, but eventually managed. For reasons that elude me, the manufacturer chose to use slot-head machine screws to attach the bowl to the support pipe, AND the screws were mounted with the screw head down and impossible to reach with a screwdriver. Holy smokes! If you've ever used an offset screwdriver, you know how I spent a captivating few hours, lying on my back in the confines of the forward bathroom. Not fun. At last, I removed the bowl and replaced the gasket, but I replaced the machine screws with Philipps head. I would have preferred a hex head, but I didn't have a 2-inch long 1/4-20.
Our friend and helper, Richard, removed and replaced some rotted wood in a port-side locker. As I've mentioned, we worked on stopping leaks for several years, and finally prevailed, but the damage had been done. He replaced the old wood with some plastic foam material so even if it leaks again, there's no wood to damage. At any rate, Conni got a quart of white enamel paint that we had aboard, and painted the locker. many of the lockers are painted, so it doesn't stand out, but it does camouflage the foam.
It finally stopped blowing, thankfully. It's gotten cooler some might have a nice evening.